SpaceX Counting Down to Late Night Launch of JCSAT-14

JSAT-14 Credit: SpaceX

Credit: SpaceX

After sitting out a day due to very inclement weather in Central Florida, SpaceX is counting down to the launch of the JCSAT-14 communications satellite to Geostationary Transfer Orbit.  Liftoff from Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40 is scheduled at the start of a two hour launch window which begins at 1:21 am ET, 5:21am UTC. A backup window is available early Saturday morning at the same time, should it be required.

JCSAT-14 is owned by Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, a major telecommunications provider in the Asia-Pacific region, and will replace JCSAT-2A at the 154° East longitude orbital slot. Built by Space Systems Loral, and massing just under 4700 kg,  JCSAT-14 is the 102nd satellite based on the SSL 1300 platform.

While SpaceX will be attempting to repeat the success of the dramatic drone ship landing which took place on the recent launch of the CRS-8 mission to the International Space Station, the company has cautioned that the odds will not be nearly as good for tonight’s launch due to the combination of higher re-entry speeds and lower available fuel margin to negate that speed.

In any event, the Automated Spaceport Drone Ship “Of Course I Still Love You” will be on station, with managers hoping this latest attempt at an overly energetic landing will benefit from experience, both good and bad, gained to date. With the chance to catch  a Falcon 9 first stage potentially worth something on the order of $40 million if it can be recovered and reused, SpaceX has more than a few incentives to just keep trying and find out where the margin really is. A hosted webcast will be approximately 20 minutes for the launch.

Posted in: SpaceX

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